Title: The White Pearl
Author: Kate Furnivall
Publisher: Berkley 2012
Genre: Historical fiction (WWII)
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction; Fall into Reading; Mount TBR; Color Coded — White
How I Got It: I own it!
Malaya, 1941. Connie Thornton plays her role as a dutiful wife and mother without complaint. She is among the fortunate after all-the British rubber plantation owners reaping the benefits of the colonial life. But Connie feels as though she is oppressed, crippled by boredom, sweltering heat, a loveless marriage. . .
Then, in December, the Japanese invade. Connie and her family flee, sailing south on their yacht toward Singapore, where the British are certain to stand firm against the Japanese. En route, in the company of friends, they learn that Singapore is already under siege. Tensions mount, tempers flare, and the yacht’s inhabitants are driven by fear.
Increasingly desperate and short of food, they are taken over by a pirate craft and its Malayan crew making their perilous way from island to island. When a fighter plane crashes into the sea, they rescue its Japanese pilot. For Connie, that’s when everything changes. In the suffocating confines of the boat with her life upended, Connie discovers a new kind of freedom and a new, dangerous, exhilarating love.
Hmmm… First off, I have to say that I liked The Russian Concubine trilogy much more than this stand alone novel. I loved the setting in Malaya and the Pacific. I liked the backdrop of WWII. I liked many of the side characters. I just couldn’t stand Connie. Sure she was stuck in a bad marriage. But did that mean she had to treat everyone else like she was the center of the universe? I felt no sympathy for her. And it made me want to throw the book down a few times. Don’t get me wrong, the story’s great. My annoyance at one character made my reading of the book feel like more of a struggle than an enjoyment.